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Biden pushes for universal pre-K and praises Dodd family during Connecticut visit

President Joe Biden greets children as he visits the Capitol Child Development Center, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Hartford, Conn.
Evan Vucci
Associated Press
President Joe Biden greets children as he visits the Capitol Child Development Center on Friday in Hartford, Conn.

President Joe Biden visited Connecticut on Friday, stopping at a childcare center in Hartford to talk up his Build Back Better infrastructure plan.

The state visit is part of the Biden administration plan to push investment in child care. Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, has pushed for anti-child poverty legislation for years. It took a pandemic to get her child tax credit expansion to help parents recover.

Biden said right now, only about half of 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds in the United States are enrolled in high-quality early childhood education.

“In Germany, France, and the UK — even Latvia — the number of children enrolled in those countries is 90% — 90%!” Biden said. “My plan gets us back on track, provides two years of high-quality preschool for every child in America.”

The president then traveled to Storrs. He and former Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd marked the dedication of the Dodd Center for Human Rights.

Biden thanked Dodd for continuing the work of his late father Thomas, who was also a Connecticut Senator.

“He spoke out when he smelled the legacy of justice that his father had fought for in Nuremberg being wrapped in the excesses on a war on terror,” he said. “And he helped to create this center, growing it over the years from an archival repository for the truth into a leading center for the study and promotion of human rights home and abroad."

Thomas Dodd was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals after World War II. His son read one of the many letters his father wrote to his mother that inspired him.

“The Nuremberg Trials will be recognized as a great landmark in the struggle of mankind for peace. I will never do anything as worthwhile again. Nothing will ever really be as important,” Dodd said. “Someday the children, I hope, will point to it and be proud and inspired by it.”

While the president’s visit was met with ceremonial fanfare, about three dozen UConn students questioned Biden’s action to promote human rights. Dressed in black and holding cardboard signs, they rallied against Biden’s support of the war in Iraq and called for the center to focus more on studies of Indigenous and queer communities.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.